FOOD

Celebrate Ice Cream Month with local custard

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Most people's go-to summer treat is a classic ice cream cone, but there are other tasty ways to indulge during National Ice Cream Month. Today, we're celebrating custard with a roundup of three best bets around town. (Don't miss our roundups of old-fashioned ice cream makers and not-so-ordinary sweet shops.)

Whit's Frozen Custard

Since first opening in Granville in 2003, Whit's Frozen Custard has become a local favorite, gradually setting up shop in the Short North, Gahanna, Hilliard, Dublin and Delaware. Whit's secret? Its frozen custard is made fresh every morning. Classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate are always available, but a special flavor is made every week and even every day. During my visit, one of their special day flavors, Chocoholic ($3.49), had everything a chocolate lover could dream of; the texture was smooth and creamy, and the custard was packed with brownie bits and chocolate shavings. I made a sundae out of my order by adding caramel on top for a extra sweetness. Another must-try flavor is the customer-favorite Buckeye Madness Whitser ($4.25 for a small; $5 for a large) containing Reese's Cups, chocolate syrup, peanut butter and vanilla custard. Check outWhit's calendar for a full guide to their summer flavors.

Culver's

Like Whit's, Culver's custard is made fresh daily. This Wisconsin-based chain also boasts a specialty (and secret) vanilla flavor. "We have our own [vanilla] bean picked specially for our restaurant," says Dan Green, general manager at Culver's West Side location.Try one of their customizable Concrete Mixers ($2.99 to $4.49) that allows you to add cookies, fruit and toppings to any custard flavor. Culver's custard also pairs great with their famous ButterBurgers ($10.29 for a combo). Or pick up a pint or quart to go at Culver's outposts in Powell, Reynoldsburg or the West Side.

Rita's Italian Ice

Rita's Italian Ice offers six frozen custard flavors daily-the standard vanilla and chocolate along with a light vanilla, coffee, orange cream and strawberry ($3.69 to $4.19 per standard order or $8.40 for a quart). This Pennsylvania-based chain also offers several combinations of Italian ice and custard; the most popular marriage is the Gelati, which is Italian ice with custard on top, allowing customers the chance to get creative and make their own favorite combo. Popular Italian ice flavors include blackberry cheesecake and cantaloupe. Rita's has four local outposts where you can try a Gelati-Powell, Westerville, Gahanna and Dublin.